Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea Reviews 2020 Lessons and Looks Forward to Growth in 2021

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Overcoming pandemic-related challenges in 2020, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea helped open 19 new independent coffee shops and launched its own Crimson retail flagship at Easton Town Center. The Columbus coffee roaster also won a 2020 Good Food Award, introduced a new mobile ordering app and enhanced customer safety and convenience.

Crimson at Easton Town Center

Crimson at Easton Town Center

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a challenging year for all of us. But, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2021, I’ve never been more confident of the role terrific coffee plays in bringing people together – and in Crimson Cup’s strength in building communities through coffee.

Like many in the restaurant and coffeehouse industry, Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea navigated a rough economy wracked by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

“This was a challenging year for everyone – our company, our employees, our customers, their customers and the farmers who grow our coffee,” said Greg Ubert, founder and president of the Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster. “The pandemic forced us to re-examine almost every aspect of our business."

“Still, with a lot of hard work by our team and our customers, we grew more agile. We learned to ride some pretty big waves. And, our persistence during the pandemic paid off with some important achievements.”

The company’s 2020 milestones included:

  • Opened 19 new independent coffee shops through the company’s 7 Steps to Success coffee shop franchise alternative,
  • Launched the new Crimson retail flagship store at Easton Town Center,
  • Won a 2020 Good Food Award,
  • Introduced a new mobile ordering app, and
  • Enhanced customer safety and convenience.

Ubert said he was proud that Crimson Cup helped so many entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of opening a coffee shop despite the challenging economic conditions.

“I was amazed both at the diversity of the shops that opened in 2020 and the grit and determination of the new owners,” he said. “We look forward to supporting them with award-winning coffee and ongoing teaching and training for many years to come.”

Crimson Cup also helped its existing 100+ independent coffeehouse customers across 30 states adapt to meet changing consumer demands for convenience and safety.

Contact-free training and consulting via video calls allowed 7 Steps consultants to stay in touch with these customers and help them work through any issues they might be experiencing.

“Our independent coffee shop owners are an amazing group!” Ubert said. “They found ways to streamline their operations, focusing on speed, efficiency, and contact-free delivery of terrific beverages."

“In some cases, they had to create impromptu drive-thrus where none existed. One shop put such an emphasis on speed that they now average less than two minutes per car for drive-thru service. That’s innovation!”

Another highlight of the year was the October opening of Crimson at Easton Town Center, which Ubert described as the culmination of the company’s 30-year drive to deliver the best-tasting coffee while showcasing the hard work of the farmers who grow it.

“Crimson ties everything we are and do together,” he said. “We believe coffee is much more than an enjoyable beverage. It’s a collaborative experience in which every participant is vital, from grower to roaster to barista to the coffee drinker.”

It all starts with the coffee farmer. Over the past decade, Crimson Cup has forged strong relationships with small-plot farmers around the globe, investing in their communities through its unique Friends2Farmer initiatives.

With in-person trips to remote coffee farms off the table, the company used video conference calls and other software tools to consult with coffee farmers.

The strong relationships give the roaster access to some of the world’s best coffees. For the second time in four years, Crimson Cup’s Ethiopian Kossa Kebena coffee took home a prestigious Good Food Award. Sponsored by the Good Food Association, the awards recognize the country’s best-tasting and most responsibly sourced coffees.

“Congratulations to Abdulhi Sherif, owner and manager of Ketim Plc., and all the farmers of the region for producing such a remarkable and consistent crop!” said Director of Sustainability Brandon Bir. “Their organic growing methods yield exceptional coffee year after year.”

Throughout 2020, Crimson Cup also took steps to support consumer convenience and safety at Crimson and its four Crimson Cup Coffee Houses in Columbus and Tallmadge, Ohio.

“We were excited to introduce a seamless, safe and contactless mobile ordering app for coffee lovers,” Ubert said. “The app’s digital awards feature also allows us to reward customers for their loyalty.”

Available for download on Apple and Android devices, the Crimson Cup app supports contactless ordering and payment, loyalty rewards and special offers.

“Just choose your favorites from our full coffeehouse menu, select a pickup time, and pay for the order using the app. Your order will be ready when you arrive,” Ubert said.

“For even greater convenience, we now have curbside pickup for locations without drive-thrus.”

Looking ahead to 2021, Ubert said Crimson Cup plans to introduce innovations throughout its value chain – from coffee drinker to coffee shop to coffee farmer.

“The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a challenging year for all of us,” he said. “But, as we celebrate our 30th anniversary in 2021, I’ve never been more confident of the role terrific coffee plays in bringing people together – and in Crimson Cup’s strength in building communities through coffee.”

About Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea

Columbus, Ohio coffee roaster Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea is a 2020 Good Food Award winner, 2019 Golden Bean Champion for Small Franchise/Chain Roaster and Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year. Since 1991, Crimson Cup has roasted sustainably sourced craft coffee for consumers and wholesale coffee customers.

Through its 7 Steps to Success coffee franchise alternative program, the company teaches entrepreneurs to run independent coffee houses in their local communities. By developing a coffee shop business plan, entrepreneurs gain insight into how much it costs to open a coffee shop.

Crimson Cup also supports life-enriching projects through its Friend2Farmer™ initiatives, promoting the education, health, sustainability and economic growth of small-plot coffee farmers and their communities.

Crimson Cup coffee is available through over 350 independent coffee houses, grocers, college and universities, restaurants and food service operations across 30 states, Guam and Bangladesh.

The company also operates several Crimson Cup Coffee Houses and a new Crimson retail flagship store. To learn more, visit, or follow the company on Facebook and Instagram.

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Cheryl Claypoole
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